FCC Will ‘Look at’ the Illegal Phone Unlocking Issue

    March 1, 2013
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

After gaining a lot of traction on the internet, the current illegality of unlocking cellphones will receive a federal investigation.

Back in January, the Library of Congress decided that the unlocking of cellphones would no longer reside on the exemptions lists for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act – a move that basically turned unlocking cellphones into an illegal activity. As of right now, it’s still legal to unlock phones purchased before January 26th, but unlocking phones purchased past that date will run you afoul of the DMCA.

Of course, many feel that unlocking cellphones should be legal in all respects – it’s their device once they buy it, and it’s that simple.

Late last month, a petition on the White House’s We The People site to make unlocking legal crossed the required signature threshold, which means that the Obama administration is forced (to a certain extent) to issue an official response. While we’re still waiting for that response, today we learn that the Federal Communications Commission will look into the matter.

“The ban raises competition concerns; it raises innovation concerns,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told TechCrunch.

“It’s something that we will look at at the FCC to see if we can and should enable consumers to use unlocked phones.”

At this point, Genachowski isn’t sure about what power the FCC has to enact change in this matter. But they will look into it.

In the meantime, we will wait on the White House’s response. That petition currently boasts over 112,000 signatures.

  • http://hypotheek-blogger.nl/hypotheekrenteaftrek/ Hypotheekrenteaftrek

    Well I hope something positive comes out of this, didn’t know jailbreaking was illegal since the 26th but that is ridiculous. You are not allowed to modify a product you pay for? It is your property and should be able to do anything you want with it.

  • killerloon

    Jailbreaking/rooting isn’t illegal. The unlocking they are referring to is the unlocking of the overall carrier so you can switch service providers. Like having a Verizon phone and deciding you want to switch providers but want to use the phone you had from Verizon.

  • Jacob Michaelson

    This won’t hold up to a legal challenge. They can’t make an activity of any kind illegal without legislation. The FCC only has the authority to enforce current law of which I’m not aware of any that prohibits unlocking phones.